Sanctuary 2.0: The Line

I love nature. I love nature in little ways, such as letting spiders stay in my house in whatever corner they decide to weave their webs. I love nature in medium ways, such as not getting mad about the goats peeing on my yoga mat at goat yoga because I was so thrilled a goat was getting cuddly on my mat with me. I love nature in big ways, such as sobbing uncontrollably while watching the whales bubble netting in Alaska because I was overwhelmed from witnessing such a majestic event that is so perfectly designed and so completely out of the control of humans.

DSC_4920

But there is a point at which I stop communing with nature. The squirrels that killed my garden this year brought me pretty close to that point. Pretty damn close to making use of a pellet gun. But this…this is the real line. Nope, nope, nope. Nasty! Uh-uh. No way. Continue reading →

Sanctuary 2.0: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

As of today, I have officially had a downtown Boulder address for six months. Once upon a time, I lived in a city of 12 million. Now I live in a town of 100,000. Sure, that’s ten times the size of the town I grew up in, but it is still very, very small. Unless you are a total hermit with no social or professional network at all, if you live here, expect to run into people you know. And behave yourself accordingly.

My era of “Oh hey, fancy seeing you here!” started in the worst possible way on March 25 when The Writer took me to a dinner party at his best friend’s house. As we were picking up dessert at a grocery store, a dark angel crossed our path: the ex-boyfriend of a close friend of mine. A man who is friends with my ex and whom no one likes. No one has ever liked him, even before he moved out of my friend’s house in the middle of the day without having the decency to tell her the years-long relationship was over. We jutted our chins out at each other by way of reluctant acknowledgement and continued on. His appearance was an omen of worse things to come. When we arrived at the hosts’ home, my date introduced me to his best friend first and then to his best friend’s girlfriend. And that’s when I went nearly brain dead, taking great effort to force my smile muscles to move into shape and sticking my arm out zombie-stiff to shake her hand. I was incapable of being genuine because my mind was frozen in a state of horror. The girlfriend was an intimacy coach who had held a group session that my ex and I had gone to together. A most uncomfortable four hours ensued. Continue reading →

The Real C Word

The real C word has eight letters, not four.

Children.

Children are the ultimate make or break point of any relationship. They aren’t something you can negotiate on. Or, at least, you really, really shouldn’t. Either you want them or you don’t, and giving in to a partner’s preference is asking for a lot of trouble.

I realize that in my dating age range (35-47 is my comfort zone), it’s difficult to find men who don’t have children and even more difficult to find mature, stable men who don’t have children. In most urban areas, it’s probably a little easier to find these unicorns but in Colorado cities, it’s probably a little harder because people who move here tend to be those attracted to the adventuresome life of rock climbing and backcountry skiing and spending an entire summer hiking peak-to-peak across the state. Those who remain unfettered by paternity tend to be afflicted by Peter Pan Syndrome, which I find most unattractive. So, when I started dating again, I had to ask myself if I could date someone with kids. Continue reading →

But…Puerto Rico?

I did a thing over the long Fourth of July weekend; I set foot in the only one of the 50 states I hadn’t yet. Idaho!

IMG_7696

When my company sent me to Portland, Oregon for a conference earlier this year, I realized that only Idaho remained and I needed to seize the opportunity. Aside from the bizarre pleasure of conquering some arbitrary political boundaries, I was further motivated to make the trip because I had just finished a year long freelance project helping the lovely Deb Glaser develop her online course for reading teachers (it’s really cool – check it out!). Deb lives in Boise and we had never met in all that time. I thought I should pop on up and say hi. Continue reading →

Sanctuary 2.0: Zorro the Wonder Cat

On June 2, 2016, I went to a local animal shelter and brought home what was supposed to be a barn cat. I lived in a house that was built into the side of a mountain where mice and other small critters were common invaders, so I thought it would be good to have an outdoor cat to help keep them under control.

IMG_3082

Within three hours, the cat ran away and I was crushed. It was out there in unfamiliar territory populated by bobcats and foxes and other potential cat-eaters. There was little to no water anywhere. I was sure I had sentenced it to death. But still hopeful, I sent an email to the neighborhood asking people to keep an eye out. About a week later, one neighbor reported having seen the cat beneath his porch, but he was unable to catch it. A week after that, another neighbor reported having seen the cat at the bottom of the mountain where my dirt road met up with the main canyon road, and where there was a stream with fresh water. Both neighbors who lived at that intersection began to see the cat repeatedly, so I got a humane animal trap and filled it first with Fancy Feast and later with some really stinky canned mackerel. I checked that cage twice a day on the way to and from work. Sometimes the food would be gone but the trap still untriggered, as if something larger, like the mountain lion also living in that area, had stuck its paw in and swiped it. Continue reading →

Happy Solstice!

My favorite day of the year has arrived. The sun is with us for a glorious 14 hours and 59 minutes today,  which is about 40 minutes fewer than it would be if those pesky mountains weren’t in the way. Or about 4 hours fewer than if I were in Homer, Alaska, as I was around this time 2 years ago. But it’s 2 hours longer than if I were in Managua, Nicaragua, as I was around this time 9 years ago. I think a lot about how much sunshine I can absorb in my lifetime.

In any case, I love this day. I celebrated by actually showing up at work before 9 AM. No, not really. Well, I did, and that was a miracle, but not the celebration. I spent this perfect morning in the park with my 60 pound lap dog.

IMG_7505

Continue reading →

Sanctuary 2.0: Not Drinking the Kool-Aid, But…

Today marks three months that I’ve been living in Boulder proper, in my Little House, and so far, life in The Bubble has been pretty damn great. Yes, friends, that’s right. I said I like living in Boulder. My Colorado friends will not believe those words were typed by me. For years and years while living in Denver, I was firmly in the contingent of people who routinely mocked Boulder and not for a moment would have entertained the idea of living here. Even when I moved to what was technically Boulder, but not exactly, dealing with people who were weird enough to live in town was unthinkable.

But now, here I am. There was no question when I left the mountains that I would live right in town. My job is here, my friends are here, I hate commuting. But I didn’t expect to be so comfortable here right away. What do I love about it?

Proximity

45 percent of the places I go, including two friends’ houses, are walking distance from my home. 45 percent of the other places, including great hiking trails, are just a five to ten minute drive away and there’s always ample, free parking. I fuel up the car only once every four weeks or so. Continue reading →

Sanctuary 2.0: Re-Engaging the Senses

I recently starting rereading Diane Ackerman’s A Natural History of the Senses, which I read for the first time approximately two years ago. The book is an exquisite and vivid journey through our five senses and how they guide and influence our interactions with the world around us. It’s a beautiful piece of writing that serves as a reminder of the importance of literally stopping to smell the roses. Today, I did that. IMG_6411After a morning session of restorative yoga in the planetarium that left me with an almost unbearable desire to pack up the car and drive straight to the Badlands or Moab to be alone with my senses, I settled for a three hour solo hike into the forest and canyons at the base of the Flatirons. The air, earth, and plants were still damp with the heavy spring rain that soaked the whole region on Friday. Such a rich humidity on a rainless day is rare treat in Boulder, as is the sound of rushing water and a nearly empty hiking trail only 15 minutes outside town. The luxury of the experience filled me with emotion and also got me to thinking about how my own senses have been heightened and tantalized since I removed myself from a relationship that was breaking my soul and forcing me to suppress a desire for rich experiences in order to simply get by from day to day. Restorative yoga helps you be present in your sense of self, but the other five senses are every bit as important. Here is what has been influencing mine lately. Continue reading →

Sanctuary 2.0: One Month In

In August 2015, I moved out of Lower Downtown Denver an hour away into the mountains west of Boulder into an exquisitely constructed house with a ten million dollar view. Partly due to its isolation and partly due to its Spanish mission style construction, my then-partner and I dubbed it the Sanctuary.

Sadly, the name became a misnomer. A sanctuary is a place of safety and protection but I was in a relationship that offered neither of those things. About eight months after we moved in, the relationship, which was always a bit fragile, became a nightmare. The person who swore he loved me, even up to the last day, who said everything he was doing was for our future and that I was his partner for life, also became a person who repeatedly told me I was a cunt and the worst thing that ever happened to him; who threw glass and smashed picture frames when I disagreed with him; who left the house for days at a time and refused to speak to me over the smallest arguments; who repeatedly told me I needed to leave his house and then begged for forgiveness and asked me to stay; who accused me of cheating, apropos of nothing, and then mocked me for being offended by the accusations; who treated me as the enemy, refusing to discuss our relationship at all and showing up drunk to couples counseling. I can go on for some time on the verbal and emotional abuse: Continue reading →